How do we know if what we are eating is genetically modified or not? We don’t. We have to rely on the supplier being honest enough to tell us. GM seeds have been mixed with organisms like bacteria , viruses, animal by-products etc. There are two main categories, at the moment, for doing this.
- Seeds are created with a gene that allows the seed to produce a toxin that will kill pests that feed of the plant.
- Seeds are created with a tolerance for herbicides that wipe out other plants.
Did you know: No GM crops are engineered for increased yield.
According to Biowatch (South Africa), South Africa is the only country in Africa that allows genetic modification of food crops, and the only country in the world that allows the genetic modification of a staple food-maize.
Did you know: GM crops grown commercially is South Africa are yellow and white maize, soya and cotton.
When a farmer begins using GM seeds, their entire way of farming changes. They have to change to growing monocrops which consist of the patented seeds and specific chemicals. Seeds have to be each season. Saved seeds from the previous crop either do not grow or are weaker than before.
Did you know: GM seeds are patented by big seed companies. Farmers who buy these seeds, only have a licence to use them for one season.
Concerns about GM seeds and crops:
- Livelihoods are threatened: The rural farmer has no guaranteed control over genetic resources. They cannot save and exchange seeds from year to year. Where cross pollination with traditional seeds occurs, these new seeds become contaminated, and threatens the farming systems employed by the more traditional farmer. This contamination can never be reversed.
- Health is threatened: People have developed allergies to foods that have always been their staple diet. Other factors such as uncertain toxic effects (Leading to increased cases of eczema in children), antibiotic resistance and reduced nutritional quality.
- The environment is threatened: GMO’s are living organisms, albeit contaminated organisms which can cause serious damage to the environment. Invasive species creep in to the eco-system; pests become super pests as they become resistant to the toxins placed in the seeds.
There is so much more that can be said on this subject, and I am willing to do the research if you interested in knowing more.
It is with great confidence that we can tell you that none of our herbs have been genetically modified. Our farmers save their seeds from year to year and share with other farmers to ensure a strong lineage of healthy seed and crop continues.
Our farmers all use organic farming principles to farm-from seed to harvest and beyond.
- Bio Watch South Africa: GMO’s in South Africa
- Bio Watch South Africa: GM crops
- Fagan,J., Antoniou, M., and Robinson, C. 2014, GMO Myths and Truths, Second edition, Version 1.0. London, Earth Open Source
- Reichardt, I, 2008, Essential Organics, The Essence of Organic Farming, Forrest Publications, South Africa